Concours of Elegance gives car enthusiasts a glimpse of private collections
After a long hiatus from COVID-19, summer auto events are making a big comeback in the Detroit metro from July 23 to 25. The Concours d’Elegance d’Amérique 2021 will feature unique looks at several major private collections of vehicles, from the dawn of the auto industry to today.
“There is a massive pent-up demand to see classic vehicles, and by major collectors” keen to share their treasures for the first time in over a year, said McKeel Hagerty, CEO of Hagerty, the car insurer classics and boats that acquired the 42-year-old Concours this year, adding it to a stable of events that includes elite auto shows in Greenwich, Connecticut and Amelia Island, Florida. “It will be a party.”
The weekend culminates July 25 with over 250 classic vehicles on the grounds of the Inn at St. John’s Resort and Golf Course in Plymouth, but the days before will include everything from a design seminar led by the former General Motors design chief Ed Welburn gets the chance to drive and ride in classic cars and a Lemons Concours clunker race.
“Concours”, moreover, is French for “concours”. The term is primarily used for high-end auto shows where vehicles are judged on the basis of their appearance and condition.
From Groat, to Rolls, to Barracuda
The organizers promise vehicles of all types and eras, from 1902 to 2021. “We want to please everyone,” said Concours Moss president. “We will have cars that you will never see elsewhere.”
Here are some of the 30 or so vehicle categories that the show will include:
- Gas lamp: Cars from the early days of the industry, including a 1902 Groat, a 1904 Ford and a 1910 Buick.
- Jazz Age: Roaring cars from the 1920s, including a 1919 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost, a 1921 Lincoln L and a 1929 Chrysler Imperial L80.
- The evolution of the motorcycle: Fifteen classic motorcycles, including a 1946 Indian Chief, a 1909 Curtiss Three Cylinder, a 1971 Harley-Davidson Super Glide, a 1978 Ducati 900ss and a 1972 Honda CB450.
- American classic: Four classes with more than 30 vehicles, before and after WWII. 1934 Packard Super 8, 1933 Pierce Arrow 1236, 1934 Packard V12 open top, 1937 Cadillac V-16, 1936 Lincoln LeBaron convertible, 1926 Wills Sainte Claire T-6 and a 1928 Hudson Model O.
- Postwar American: A wealthy class ranging from a 1951 Chrysler Windsor Deluxe to 54 Oldsmobile Super 88, 1957 Ford Thunderbird, 1968 Mercury Cougar XR7 and 1969 Buick Wildcat.
- European classic: A 1924 Delage GL Skiff Torpedo, a 1928 Minerva AF, a 1933 Isotta Fraschini Tipo 8A Dual Cowl and more, including a Rolls-Royce trio.
- Jet Age: American aerospace-inspired cars including a 1960 Dodge Matador, 1960 Chevrolet Impala, 1960 Studebaker Lark and 1960 Ford Galaxie Sunliner.
- Muscle Cars from 1970 and 1971: Nearly two dozen cars from Detroit’s early performance heyday, including a 1970 Pontiac GTO Judge, 1970 AMC Javelin, 1970 Plymouth Barracuda, 1970 Mercury Cougar Eliminator, 1970 Chevrolet Chevelle SS LS6 , a 1971 Ford Mustang Boss 351 and a 1971 Dodge Charger SE.
- Modern collectibles: More recent rarities including a 1991 Autech Zagato, a 1984 BMW M635 CSi, a 1985 Renault R5 turbo 2-8221 rally car, a 2002 BMW Z8 and a 1982 Rolls-Royce Camargue.
GM, Ford design legends discuss
Design legend GM Welburn will discuss the Ferrari Monza in one of the many seminars on July 24. Other topics will include the story of the Black Ghost, a legendary 1970 street-racing Dodge Challenger that has been missing for decades.
Perhaps the lesser-known major automotive institution, the New Brunswick Center for American Automotive Heritage, is the focus of another seminar. The Mid-Pennsylvania Collection is dedicated to the proposition that American mainstream cars of the 1920s to 1930s were more innovative and better designed and built than legendary luxury brands of the same era.
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In addition, Moray Callum, recently retired Ford chief design officer, the man who led the development of the memorable 2016 Ford GT, among dozens of other vehicles, has curated a collection of his favorite vehicles that includes the new Ford Bronco Badlands 2021, a 1976 Bronco and the Ford Ghia Via, a 1989 concept car that has been lost for decades. The Via, which Callum helped create at Ford’s former Ghia design studio in Turin, Italy, showcased many concepts seen in current vehicles.
Detroit area private collections
The July 25 show will also feature vehicles from five major collectors in the Detroit area.
A sample of the vehicles – rarely seen in public and never likely to end up together – that participants can expect to see include:
- Tom Celani Collection: Ferrari Enzo, 1955 Chevy resto mod
- David Fischer Collection: 2009 Mercedes Stirling Moss SLR, 1963 Chevrolet Corvette
- Ken Lingenfelter Collection: 1954 Chevrolet Corvette mule built by legendary engineer Zora Arkus-Duntov, 1000 horsepower 2018 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 Lingenfelter
- Larry Smith Collection: 1976 Ferrari Dino 246 GT, 1936 Stout Scarab
- Stahls Automotive Foundation: 1904 Cyklon Cyklonette Trike, 1963 Chrysler Turbine Car
The Festive Weekend features a number of free events, including a “Battle of the Brands” sports car and a Cars & Coffee event which always attracts a wide variety of vehicles.
Tickets and timetable details are available at https://concoursusa.org.